How Law Made Silicon Valley

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Citation: Anupam Chander (2014) How Law Made Silicon Valley. Emory Law Journal (RSS)
Internet Archive Scholar (search for fulltext): How Law Made Silicon Valley
Wikidata (metadata): Q109765008


Notes 1990s US executive, legislative, and judicial branches haltingly and inconsistently, but importantly, made decisions to effectively subsidize Internet development, analogous to nineteenth-century US judges alteration of law to subsidize industrial development. ("Silicon Valley" in this paper really means U.S.-based internet platforms; it does not attempt to explain previous iterations of Silicon Valley.)

Provides examples in the areas of intermediary liability, copyright, privacy.

Contrasts with European Union, Japan, and South Korea, which made lesser, spottier, or later decisions in favor of Internet development in each of these areas.

Notes subsidies have dispersed costs which regulators might seek to mitigate while also not threatening innovators.

Theoretical and Practical Relevance

"Even as late as 2008, European lawyers could only advise, “[T]he scope of liability of Web 2.0 websites is an unsettled point of law.”175 It was only at the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012 that the European Court of Justice made clear that Internet intermediaries could not be required to affirmatively filter their entire networks for copyright infringement. In cases brought by the Belgian collecting rights society, SABAM, against Internet access provider Scarlet and online social network Netlog, the court held that enjoining these companies to filter on behalf of copyright owners uploads by all users would violate the privacy and speech rights of users, and would be unduly costly and burdensome to the Internet enterprise."

Approximately 10 years later, Article 13 of new copyright directive might swing back to effectively requiring copyright filters.